Life is to be lived in the sense that we should take advantage of the time we have. As an emperor, Tiberius is the name that jumps to mind but I may be wrong, said, “There is no guarantee of an afterlife.” In this sense, one should not waste their life. The time we have is limited and precious. Does this then mean that everything must be put into the pursuit of happiness? I think not. Happiness is indeed of great importance, but it is unreasonable to expect happiness in every instant of life. Emotions, as in most things, are healthy in balance rather than excess. There is much more to the world than a single thought, purpose, act, or emotion. There are things that sadden you which you must face and resolve. There is the banal and dull. There are duties that may not have instantaneous or even long-lived happiness, but they are worth the effort. Duties are important, for they are where accomplishment and lasting relationships are found. To take a duty is to take on a commitment to something you think is worthwhile or to maintain necessities for life. There is honor in upholding the duties you have taken on, and this gives more worth to your life. It is a thing judged entirely personally, and the duty and worth found, like religions, can only come from oneself. They are entirely personal. To live life then, is to select those things which you value and be true to them. It is to find balance in everything you encounter and reconcile that with what you have chosen. This selection cannot be entirely free, but it should not be unduly restricted. Good, neutral, evil, and inconsequential matters all exist. The judgement of each will have some amount of variation as each person is unique and some commonality in that each is a person. Circumstances change. Equilibria are dynamic. One can find balance in the center or on the periphery as you counterbalance another force. Thus, the balances you find in life need to be dynamic as well. In seeking and achieving these balances, you find life.
Death is the grand certainty of humans. In manner and execution, it is infinitely varied, yet the result is singularly common. It is strange that so many fear the thing that is most reliably going to happen. It makes more sense to me to fear the manner of death or its timing. However, death itself will happen. As such, the unknown after death should not be greatly troubling since everyone eventually encounters it. It seems certain that the body no longer has feeling, and that is different from life. The difference may be the thing feared. The loss of thought and action are certainly apparent, However, it is not as though one is simply expunged from existence as memory and history can maintain one’s presence for extraordinary amounts of time. These may prolong a sort of life in the perception of those who have passed on. You can still hear what a dear one would say long after they are absent. Achilles has yet to be forgotten. Is it then odd that the one who dies is the one not actively participating in this prolonged life? If there is an afterlife, perhaps they are still participating. If not, it is a comfort to know of how one’s presence is prolonged. It is a comfort to know that in the life lived there has been some impact on others. The quality of this impact should then be the thing carefully considered, and that is in the realm of life. The lessons to be learned and experiences to be had thanks to those who have died are astounding and of great value. Learning these lessons and experiencing these things has great importance. It gives to both the living and the dead.